Amid protests across the country over retail and service jobs that pay little better than the minimum wage, it’s easy to forget that this income benchmark once meant something slightly different. In the past, a minimum-wage job was actually one that could keep a single parent out of poverty.
Since the 1980s, the federal minimum wage has kept pace with neither inflation, nor the rise of the average worker’s paycheck. That means that while a federal minimum wage in 1968 could have lifted a family of three above the poverty line, now it can’t even do that for a parent with one child, working full-time, 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year (yes, this calculation assumes that the parent takes no time off).
In a Wednesday speech, President Obama pushed for a bill that would increase the federal wage to $10.10 (a rate closer in line with the most progressive municipal minimum wages, including one Washington, D.C. looks close to adopting). Perhaps that hike sounds unrealistic by historic standards. But it would actually bring us back to the kind of income floor America ensured prior to the 1980s, before Congress stopped passing the regular adjustments necessary to keep the minimum wage a livable one. Congress has only increased it twice since 1997.
The above graph, from the Economic Policy Institute’s David Cooper, neatly illustrates the minimum wage’s precarious relationship to the poverty line. The dotted blue line at right shows what would happen if Congress were to pass the current bill proposed by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller.
All of the historic dollar values are converted into 2013 dollars. Historically, the poverty line has remained relatively constant.
It’s important to note that families living just above the federal poverty line are still struggling by many measures. But as long as the federal government bothers to identify a basic income threshold essential to scrape by, it seems only fair to hold the same government to that standard in its minimum wage policy.
Keep in mind that smoking activates all of the actives and then destroys 50% of them.
Vaping gives you a clear headed euphoric high, edibles give you a trippy psychedelic high, smoking gives you both at the price of 50% of the actives.
The Real Walter White by Vice
A Bloody Mary may be America’s tried-and-true hangover cure, but the morning after a 7-hour Thanksgiving dinner and countless drinks may require a stronger concoction. On Friday morning, take some cues from around the world—if you can stomach it. Just be glad you didn’t wake up in ancient Rome, where the traditional cure was a deep-fried canary, eaten whole.
After a night of too much sake, the Japanese rely on a type of dried sour plums called umeboshi. To dilute the bitterness, the less-than-brave steep them in green tea.
The Germans have a word for everything, even hangover breakfast: katerfrühstück. It features a pickled herring wrapped around pickled cucumbers and onions, and sometimes includes a beer.
Poles down a glass of brine from sour pickles or sauerkraut to ease the vodka-induced morning doldrums.
Russians believe the best way to dry out from vodka saturation is with a sauna session and a beating with birch branches. Another cure is Kvass, a slightly alcoholic beverage made by soaking dried rye bread with sugar and yeast.
Perhaps this is meant as a way to induce vomiting? Mongolians bravely swallow a glass of pickled sheep eyeballs mixed into tomato juice to chase away their morning-after blues.
Mexico, Turkey and Romania
These seemingly disparate countries count on a tripe soup to ease the pain of a hangover. In Turkey, it goes by the name iskembe corbasi and has a tangy vinegar or lemon base. The Romanian version is ciorba de burta, a salty dish of root vegetables. In Mexico the cow stomach concoction is called menudo and is made with garlic and onion. There’s another Mexican cure, vuelva a la vida, or “return to life,” which is a seafood cocktail mixed with tomato juice and pico de gallo.
A traditional mix of buttermilk, corn flour, salt and pepper dubbed “The Highland Fling” has been known to do the trick in the homeland of whiskey. But nowadays the Scots swear by “Irn-Bru,” a carbonated orange beverage, to revive them after a big night out.
Pub-weary Brits soak up the pints with a heaping bacon sandwich. They’re taking the scientific approach: in 2009, a Newcastle University study found the combination of bacon and bread really can cure a hangover by providing amino acids.
Leche de tigre is the leftover marinade from ceviche. The combination of lime juice, lemon juice, fish stock, fish scrap, garlic, and ginger is thought to ease that throbbing pain in your head and also serve as an aphrodisiac.
Taking the old “hair of the dog” saying to heart, Namibians drink a mixture of clotted cream, dark rum, spiced rum cream liqueur, and whole cream. It’s deceptively named “buffalo milk,” but is more alcohol than milk.
Though it sounds more gag-worthy than helpful in keeping your stomach settled, a dried bull’s penis is apparently the traditional snack of choice for hung-over Sicilians.
Though trading rhino horns is illegal, ground rhino horn soaked in hot water has been considered a remedy for not just hangovers, but also cancer. The mythic properties of the sought-after horn mean each one can sell for as much as $300,000.
Eggs have been thought to ease the next-day pain of overdrinking, but Filipino sufferers are advised to eat a poached, fertilized duck embryo called balut—if they can bear swallowing a partially formed bird with beak attached.
Coin is a new device that can hold and be used like the cards you already carry.
It is ridiculous to call circumcision a “snip”. It is a rip (the foreskin must be torn loose from the glans as they are fused together at birth), a crush (the foreskin must be crushed to close the many blood vessels and keep the baby from bleeding to death), and a cut that removes almost half the skin from the baby’s penis. Doctor’s really don’t want to tell you this.
Also note: the babies who “do sleep” through it are actually in a state of shock.